The success of the world’s largest vaccination drive in India and its exemplary efforts to supply vaccine to more than 60 other countries seems to have not gone well with a certain section of western media, who have been busy mocking and discrediting India’s success story. The liberal media outlets in the West and its ‘journalists’ in India are finding it tough to believe a country which they love to label as a ‘third -world’ nation has not only managed the pandemic well but is also generously helping other nations with its large vaccine manufacturing capacity.
In a similar attempt to discredit India’s vaccination drive, Amy Kazmin – the Chief of Financial Times’ South Asia bureau, had earlier resorted to weaving conspiracy theories around Prime Minister Modi and had concocted a story saying he might have already been inoculated with a ‘foreign vaccine in secret’ as he did not trust the two Indian made vaccines.
A report written by Ami Kazmin was published in FT on January 26, 2021, which raised doubts not only over India’s vaccine program but also claimed that PM Modi had already been vaccinated with a foreign vaccine, but the information has been kept secret.
The report said that the Modi government’s inoculation campaign uses two vaccines – Covishield, a locally manufactured dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and Covaxin, an indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech. The report spread false propaganda against the Bharat Biotech- manufactured vaccine saying top ‘Indian scientists’ have questioned the decision to use Covaxin.
The ‘journalist’ said that the vaccine’s efficacy was not proved, and hence many doctors and nurses “have balked” at receiving Covaxin, leading to lower than expected vaccine turnout.
PM Modi hesitant to take Indian vaccine, got secret foreign jab: claimed FT
In her report, Kazmin was seen taking potshots at PM Modi and said even as global leaders — such as Joe Biden, then US president-elect, and Kamala Harris as vice-president-elect, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad have come forward to take the jab, the Indian Prime Minister was hesitating to take the vaccine.
“His apparent reticence has been noticed and has fuelled speculation as to his motives adding to a broader controversy over the drive to inoculate 300m Indians by August,” read the report. India had started a priority vaccination drive for frontline workers on January 16 and PM Modi has emphasised that politicians won’t be allowed to ‘jump the queue’ and will have to wait for their turn.
The report further said that some have called PM Modi to take the Covaxin jab to “counter this hesitancy” and persuade others to follow.
However, Amy Khazmin also came up with a bizarre theory when she quoted “some people” to claim that the Indian PM may have been secretly inoculated already with an overseas vaccine, whose efficacy has been affirmed.
The conspiracy theories of Amy Kazmin have now been busted after Prime Minister Modi took his first dose of the Indian-made Covaxin vaccine on March 1 during the second phase of the centre’s vaccination drive, when the drive was started for senior citizens. By taking the shot of Covaxin that has been discredited by Amy Kazmin and other western media outlets, PM Modi silently led a campaign to inspire confidence in people’s minds regarding the efficacy of the vaccine.
It is notable here that many foreign news portals have been trying to advertise the theories that the two western vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna may be ‘more effective than other vaccines. However, they conveniently forget to mention that both the vaccines are very expensive and unsuitable for large scale vaccination drives in many countries because they require storage and transportation at extremely low temperatures.
While all the vaccines currently under use all over the world are under trial and have received only ’emergency approval’ from respective governments, it is unclear why most Western media portals and some ‘liberal’ Indians have already decided that Western-made vaccines must be better than India-made vaccines.
Wild speculations and misinformation
The article also makes other wile speculations. It claims “top Indian scientists” have questioned India’s decision to sue Covaxin. Covaxin was developed in collaboration with India’s premier medical research body, ICMR. ICMR is also working with Bharat Biotech to conduct the clinical trials.
The article also insinuates that Modi is ‘being camera shy’ and hesitating to take the India-made vaccine, unlike other world leaders. However, it fails to mention that unlike other world leaders, PM Modi has managed the pandemic exceptionally well, something many Western ‘experts’ are not finding it easy to come to terms with.
In recently published clinical trial data, Covaxin has reported 81% efficacy. Not just PM Modi, but several other political leaders all over the country have actually set an example by not jumping the queue using their privilege and waiting for their turn, taking the vaccine only when it was available for senior citizens.
The article notes that PM Modi had asked politicians to ‘wait for their turn’. But in denouncing the vaccination drive, the PM’s decision, to speculative ‘low vaccine turnouts’, it spreads only misinformation and reflects how the Western world is prejudiced against developing nations.
When India started phase 2 of its vaccination drive on March 1, PM Modi walked into the AIIMS early in the morning and took the Covaxin dose like a regular Indian senior citizen. CMs like Naveen Pattnaik and Nitish Kumar, and many other political leaders also followed suit.
If one believed Amy’s conspiracy theories, PM Modi should not have taken the Covaxin jab as he was already inoculated with a ‘trusted’ foreign vaccine. Instead, PM Modi and his ministerial colleagues inspired the country by taking the Covaxin shot to dispel rumours spread by the left-liberals, both within India and the international media, against the Bharat Biotech-made vaccine.
Nearly two weeks after their lies being nailed, the Financial Times has neither deleted their concocted report on PM Modi and the country’s vaccination drive nor have apologised for the same.